Tag Archives: LA

A Picture Perfect Day in LA

Last month, my friends at Rhymesayers Entertainment invited me out to the Camp Flog Naw Carnival at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Growing up a Raiders fan, I’ve always wanted to see the legendary arena. Sure, it wasn’t an actual game & sure we’d be out in the parking lot area, but hey, it was going to be fun either way.
Camp Flog Naw has hosted this Hip Hop Carnival for the past three years. This year’s line-up was insane. With artists ranging in styles, ages & hometowns from from coast-to-coast, the event had acts for any and all hip hop heads in attendance.
I arrived in time to catch some of my favorites on stage…Step Brothers.

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After their set, I met up with Ashanti to thank him for the generous invite.

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He told me to head backstage where he’d meet me in a bit. That’s where all the magic happened..!
I walk around, greeting some of my favorite familiar faces. Some of the guys from Rhymesayers (who I met at Soundset) and, of course, some artists fall into that category. I love seeing them all behind the scenes, when they’re just “hanging out” with their peers. It’s beautiful to watch the interactions.
My heart is thrilled when I spot my friend, Evidence… Because he’s seated at a table that’s hosting pure Instagram Royalty. Sure, I want to play it cool and not show too much of my giddiness… But I can’t help but be excited when I notice WatchxWitness (13th Witness & Jason Goldwatch), Madchild, and others…
I carry on a casual conversation with Ev & Madchild. When Madchild asks me to snap a group photo of the guys…

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I see my opportunity, so, before the moment escapes me, I give in and ask for pictures, too! I start by asking Ev to pose with me. I know him, so, it’s not weird… But here’s the kicker… I ask the legendary photographer & Instagram King, Tim McGurr aka 13th Witness to take the photo. It’s seriously an honor. I love every picture that he (and his girlfriend, Monica Alcarez) posts.
Ev turns to me and asks if I know who that is… I respond with “Yes, that’s the reason I asked him to take the picture.” Ha! He laughs & trades places with Tim. Now I have another Instagram legend (and amazing “Director of Photography“) taking my picture with King Witness himself. I’m stoked!

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I decide to keep it going at this point… I’m asking one genius after another to snap my picture & to use their talent to capture my moment with each of them:
So, after 13th Witness took my picture with Ev, & Ev took my picture with 13th Witness, Ev snapped me with Madchild, Jason Goldwatch caught me with Murs, and Misha Louy shot a few fun frames of me with Jason Goldwatch!

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I got to chat with Jason for a bit and gush over how much I love his work. He captures human beings from all over the world in the most beautiful, authentic way. He captures exactly what I see when I’m traveling the world… unique, wonderful people, all different, yet all the same… He captures a true sense of unity. His work is moving.
I asked him if he ever felt weird taking candid shots of strangers… His response, “I got over that a long time ago.”
*Check out one of my all time favorite Jason Goldwatch videos here.

After my personal photo-shoot, I took some time to walk around the festival to catch some of the live musical acts.

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Locals, Grouch and Eligh made me feel right at home.

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Mac Miller gave me a chance to celebrate my (part-time) PA residency.

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Rick Ross had me & the guys dancing to his hits. Tyler, The Creator (the mastermind & founder of the carnival) made us all feel like kids when he took the stage. His set was a huge bedroom with a ginormous bed. There was definitely lots of jumping around and it felt like play time when beach balls were being tossed around in the crowd.
We stuck around to watch a huge chunk of headliner, Pharell Williams, set. He hit us with a real show. His amazing dancers and the N.E.R.D. reunion kept the crowd thoroughly entertained. It was a great festival, overall. I had a blast.

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After the festival, I made my way to Santa Monica with Ashanti, Dem Atlas & his DJ, Justin. I had great time chatting with the guys. They’re all hip hop geniuses & I love their energy.
One of my favorite moments of the night was when I was talking to Josh (Dem Atlas, 22 years old) about his success & how he deals with the guilt of being away from his family. This is something I’ve been experiencing lately… Fulfilling my dreams, and missing precious time with those you love dearly. The answer that this young man gave me was mind-blowing:
What keeps me going is that I know I’m doing all this for them. I’m not doing this for me. You know, I’m doing this for my mom, for my family, for the youth… When I realized that I could actually have whatever I want, that the power is within me, all I could think was, “Ok, what’s next?” Today, I saw so many artists that I admire & I got to talk to them & let them know that I love & appreciate their work…then, I turned around & some kid would be saying the the same thing to me. Like I’m that to them. It’s beautiful!
Well put, young sir. Well put!
We shared a moment discussing The Doors, Jim Morrison, Southern California, music, love & the power within… It was the perfect way to end a perfect day… Well, that & tacos! ūüėČ Thanks, Ashanti.

Thank you for taking the time to read my about my adventures. If you’re reading this, know that I appreciate you. Now, what are your dreams? What’s your story? What’s next for you?

Special thanks to my friends at Rhymesayers, Ashanti, Siddiq, and Skye, for feeding my obsession of hip hop & amazing human beings and for introducing me to people that I connect with and adore like Dem Atlas, Clint Schaff, and so many others linked to the RSE family. It’s an honor to feel so welcomed. Thank you!

Mexicali Taco & Company

This past weekend I finally had the pleasure of eating at LA’s famous Mexicali Taco & Company. I hopped in the car with a couple of my friends & made the forty-minute drive (in Los Angeles traffic) to satisfy our craving for Baja style tacos.
When we arrive, we’re greeted by my good friend (& owner), Esdras Ochoa and his huge smile.
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I’ve known Esdras since we were in junior high school…before he mastered the culinary arts & was still experimenting with some questionable combinations. Haha! Now, I see his face on TV & get to read all about his success.
Esdras clears a table for us and when he hands us menus, I insist that he surprise us. He’s a great sport. He’s considerate enough to ask a few questions about diet restrictions & then he heads to the kitchen. He sends out a variety of delicious options of carne asada (beef), chicken, and pork…
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We tried every salsa available & devoured every bite of our food. The famous flour tortillas (which are exported from tortillerias in the Baja region) added undeniable authenticity to our meal. It was amazing and I’ll definitely be back next time I’m in LA.

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you have to stop by 702 N. Figueroa Street to try these tacos!

For more information (including menu, hours, location and contact) visit MexicaliTacoCo.com.

*Special Thanks to Esdras Ochoa for a wonderful meal, for your kindness, warmth & generosity…and for being such a great friend. Congratulations on all your success. I’m so proud of you!

Thanks for reading, everyone. Happy eating!

LA Layover

Ok, I’m a California girl through and through…so, getting paid to go home, is one of my favorite things in the world. Today I had the chance to hang out with my best friend, in one of my favorite cities, and it was for work!
I arrived in Los Angeles last night around 9:00pm. Our flight was, of course, star-studded. We had actors, athletes…& even one of my favorite singers on board.
My dear friend agreed to pick me up from the airport. It’s nice to not always have to stay in a hotel when I’m away on a layover. I was really excited to see Samantha. It was her birthday weekend and I missed her official celebration, because I was scheduled to be on duty with the airline.
When I arrive at LAX, we’re in communication & timing is perfect. She pulls up as I’m walking from my gate. As soon as I see her car, I run up to greet her. I startle her and she nearly jumps out of her seat…it’s hilarious…that’s the sort of thing she usually does! Haha. I got her!
The car ride to her house is full of laughter and warm conversation. Samantha and I have been friends for over ten years. We’ve always had a special bond. Over a year ago, she introduced me to the Landmark Forum. I completed the three day seminar, which empowers you to live life powerfully & to live a life you love, in January 2013 and since then, my life has completely transformed. I remind her of the impact she has made in my world (with my self-awareness, my career and even my family) & I thank her. There’s so much love flowing in the car. I’m enjoying every minute of it.
Samantha has a “do whatever makes you happy” kind of attitude. On our way to her house, I know we have to pass Circus Liqour – a recognizable store in North Hollywood that’s been featured in several films. So, I tell her that snapping a quick picture there would definitely make me smile…she pulls over & I get my picture. Simple things in life, you know…? ūüôā

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When we get to her place, we take her pup, Puff, out for a walk and we make a stop at Vallarta, a Mexican supermarket. It’s a beautiful night and I’m excited to pick up some of my favorite things….fresh corn chips, ceviche, avocados, salsa, queso fresco, and cucumbers. These make the perfect munchies for our movie night. In honor of our stop at Circus Liqour, Samantha chooses Clueless (the famous neon clown is featured in the scene where Cher is held at gunpoint after being stranded by Elton when leaving the Valley Party…you girls all know what I’m talking about). We both fall asleep before the movie is over. Party animals.
In the morning, we have breakfast & Samantha gets a call for a video shoot. I’m happy to tag along for a behind-the-scenes experience. I’ve gone to work with her before, it’s always fun…& hey, when in LA…
The drive is beautiful, palm trees lining the streets, the sun shining….what more could I want? We drive through the heart of Hollywood & I’m so grateful for such a beautiful Monday. I love Mondays (now) because I love my job & I love my life. I remember there was a time I didn’t feel that way…I’m so glad I’ve gotten to this point. We pass all the beautiful mansions in Beverly Hills & we pick our favorites as we soak in each of the gorgeous structures. (I wish I had taken more pictures).

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The video shoot is for the song Waffle House, by Nezzo. Samantha’s role is to eat waffles in a bikini & to be exaggerated and comedic – these are things she’s mastered. I’m having fun watching her exceed their expectations. She’s funny and playful, and she is very comfortable being silly in front of the camera.

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When the shoot wraps, the crew thanks her for a job well done. They laugh and tell her they’re very pleased with the footage they’ve captured. It’s been an awesome afternoon.
We spend the evening at Samantha’s house. I take a nap, since I have to work the red-eye back to Philadelphia tonight. We watch another movie, Girl in Progress, get in a quick Zumba workout, and I shower & prepare for my flight, while Samantha prepares a delicious dinner of chicken tacos, all the (fresh) fixings imaginable, and steamed veggies. Yum!
After dinner, Samantha drives me to the airport. On our way there, we have yet another amazing conversation. We’re constantly in inquiry when we’re together & we love to discover new things about ourselves. This time is no different. We each got something for ourselves, just by sharing with each other about what’s going on in our lives & what’s not working as well as we’d like. We find it so beautiful, what unfolds, when you just own who you are, and show up for your life! It was the perfect way to end my visit with her & it has me in good spirits for the late night flight.
The trip back to Philadelphia is super easy. Almost every passenger is sleeping. One passenger, however, keeps visiting the galley…he wants to stretch, and he is very talkative…I gotta admit, he’s definitely made this the most interesting flight in the world

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ūüėČ

Until next time. Stay thirsty, my friends!

Special Thanks to Samantha Padilla follow her on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Also to Nezzo , James Davis II and the rest of the production crew…and of course, to Jonathan Goldsmith,The most interesting man in the world.